How Much Downtime Should I Expect After Rhinoplasty Surgery?

I am a professional model and obvously would like to know how much time it is going to take to heal before i can go back to work?

Doctor Answers 19

Body or Face?

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If you model for body shots, then one month is fine. If you are a face model, then 2 months are more appropriate. It will take a year or more to achieve the final results, but people should not be able to see that you had something done (unless you are radically changing your look) at those time points and distances.

Camera readiness after rhinoplasty

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I have dealt with this issue many times as a Beverly Hills Rhinoplasty specialist. I can tell you that everyone is different and your healing will depend on your particular nose and what exactly needs to be done depending on what your desires are.

Following finesse rhinoplasty (which means minor changes) people are usually ready to be on stage or on camera after about 10 days to 2 weeks with make up. The good news for you is that most people who are making a living with their looks like models and actors already have fairly nice noses and only need minor changes and therefore require finesse rhinoplasties.

The more work that needs to be done, the more potential swelling you will have and the longer it will take you to be camera ready. In general models and actors do not fall into this category, but that is not an absolute rule. I usually tell people to wait at least 6 weeks (if not longer) to get new head shots. Hope this helps.

Jason B. Diamond, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Downtime During Rhinoplasty Recovery

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The "downtime" following rhinoplasty is variable depending on what rhinoplasty techniques are used such as whether the surgery was performed open or closed, whether any tip work was performed, and whether the nasal bones were broken (osteotomies). Patients who undergo open rhinoplasty typically have more edema (swelling) that persists longer compared to patients in whom closed rhinoplasty techniques were used. If the nose was surgically broken by performing osteotomies then there is usually more swelling and bruising.

Patients are generally encouraged to take a week of from work or school. After two weeks, most patients can gradually return to strenuous activities such as exercising.

The swelling gradually dissipates over the first several months and thus the appearance of the nose changes gradually. When the cast is removed after one week, the nose will look swollen. Usually by the end of the second week, the swelling and bruising have subsided enough that the casual observer will not readily notice that the nose has been operated on. However, to the patient, the nose will look swollen or "puffy" for several months. By about 3-4 months, the majority of the swelling will be gone but will look larger in photographs. It can take as long as a year for the final shape to become apparent. You should give yourself several months if if there are any work or social engagements that would cause concern.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Patients undergoing a rhinoplasty will have a nasal...

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Patients undergoing a rhinoplasty will have a nasal splint for about a week.

If an open rhinoplsasty is performed (that is using a small incision on the skin between the nostrils on the area called the columella), the sutures would be removed 1 week after surgery. The majority of the swelling and bruising should go away within 2 weeks.

Because you are a model, I would probably give it a month to go back to photo shoots. There will be some residual swelling in the tip of the nose for months, but only you would probably notice it.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Depends on Closed or Open

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On day 5-7 post-operatively, the cast is removed. By day 7, almost all the swelling of the face is gone and usually most, if not all, of the bruising is completely gone. You can put on a small amount of makeup and go out for dinner that evening and no one will know you had anything done. Due to Closed technique, since there are no external cuts or scars and no unnecessary dissection, the healing process is much quicker. For out of town patients, many fly back to their respective city or country the day after cast removal (which is generally day 8).  

Hope this helps, 

Deepak Dugar, MD
Scarless Rhinoplasty Expert
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Deepak Raj Dugar, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Normal social activities may be resumed in many 8 days postoperative rhinoplasty surgery.

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If you have very light skin and bruise excessively after rhinoplasty, dark purple "shiners" may be difficult to conceal. If you have a darker skin type or if you have minimal bruising and swelling postoperative, artful concealer may get you back to work around eight days after your surgery. Hope this helps. Dr Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 reviews


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I have operated on a number of professional models, who have related to me that after surgery by me they have been able to go back to work in 1-2 weeks. (Some felt ready in 1 week, some in 2). We do a number of things in all patients to minimize down time, and patients have been generally pleased. Of course this can vary from surgeon to surgeon and you should ask your surgeon what they would expect your down time will be.

Daniel G. Becker, MD
Voorhees Facial Plastic Surgeon

What To Expect After Rhinoplasty

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What to Expect After Surgery- The first week after surgery you should rest your head in an elevated position to help minimize swelling. You may experience some bleeding, bruising and swelling, but this will subside over a few weeks.
In addition to a nasal splint you will also have some packing inside the nose, which will be removed by your surgeon. Within 10 days after surgery, your swelling should reach its peak and begin to subside. You can apply makeup to conceal any bruising. Some moderate activity can be resumed, but nothing strenuous. Several weeks after the surgery you can resume most of your normal activities. As far as work goes, depending on your job description and duties it's advised to wait about 1 week to return to work after having the rhinoplasty procedure. 
  • Driving: 5-7 days.
  • Non-contact sports: 3-4 weeks. (This includes jogging, swimming, hiking, etc.)
  • Contact sports: 6 weeks. (This category includes tennis, skiing, football, basketball, etc.)
  • Diving: 8-12 weeks.

M. Azhar Ali, MD, FACS
Bloomfield Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Recovery: Rhinoplasty

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Recovery following rhinoplasty varies from patient to patient and depends on several factors. These include the type of procedure performed, the wound healing characteristics of the patient and the patients’ employment and social situation.

Following rhinoplasty, patients have several concerns, They want to know when they will feel better and look good enough to return to public as well as when they can resume normal and strenuous activities. They also want to know when residual swelling will disappear and when their final result will be achieved.
After rhinoplasty, nasal packing is usually removed within 24 hours following surgery. When an open rhinoplasty is performed; sutures are removed five to six days after surgery. External splints are removed one week following surgery.

Most patients are surprised at how good they feel two to three days following the surgery. Depending upon their employment and social situations, many patients don’t feel like going out in public for at least a week. This is primarily due to the bruising and swelling which accompanies this procedure. This may be more pronounced if the boney portion of the nose is fractured and narrowed.

Most routine activities are resumed in seven to ten days and strenuous activities can be resumed in four to six weeks following surgery. Small amounts of residual swelling may persist for up to one year following rhinoplasty.

Patients typically find the first 24 hours of recovery difficult. Once the nasal packing is removed they quickly feel better.

Downtime after rhinoplasty

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The initial swelling will subside in a couple of weeks to a month, then residual swelling may last for up to a year or so. I recommend patients avoid exercising for about 6 weeks, and this includes swimming. They may be able to return to work in about two weeks or so, if it;s a desk job. Of course you should ask your surgeon for their advice as it may be different.

However, you'll probably need to wait a couple of months since your work relies on your appearance (although if it's just for your body, then you can return to work in about 2 weeks  or so).

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.